DJ Premier live at Queen’s Republic in Vancouver [Review]
Vancouver, BC – One of hip-hop’s most iconic figures, DJ Premier, arrived at the Queen’s Republic Thursday night. A set from Premier is something like a hip-hop education. The greatest emcees who ever lived have spit some of the best verses of their careers over Premier’s beats.
DJ Premier was wearing a black Bronx T-shirt and sporting his perfectly shaved head. Instead of appearing out of thin air and accompanied by fireworks, he was escorted from backstage through the crowd. This seemed very anticlimactic and his arrival was followed by an unexpected intermission. His set started out with technical difficulties. Expecting him to dive right into his beats, the crowd was forced to wait a good ten minutes due to troubleshooting. At one point the room was even left in complete silence before liftoff.
Premier finally got the place jumping with Nas “Represent” from Illmatic. He had the crowd by the nuts and everyone was screaming “Represent! Represent!” on command. This was the kind of excitement and energy expected and he interacted with the crowd very well. Premier adlibbed some of the lyrics to the song too which was fun. The set continued in this fashion for a while as he dug deeper into his repertoire.
Some of the highlights from the night included “Unbelievable” by Notorious B.I.G, “Boom” from Royce da 5’9″ and “A Million and One Questions” from JAY-Z but the real bangers were from Premier’s Gang Starr catalogue. “Mass Appeal” and “Above The Clouds” just to name a few, got the crowd very excited. He spent a good deal of effort paying tribute to the late Guru and Big L and had the crowd answering him with “GURU!” every time he played a “Big L” sample. This was very well done and he kept building and building the enthusiasm of the fans.
DJ Premier got into some old school hip-hop origins stuff when he threw on a James Brown record. He played a grove over and over and taught everyone how to do a “soul clap”. He had the crowd throw their hands up and clap quickly to the beat in a 16th note rhythm. This was unsuccessful as I think most people were intimidated by trying something new and unconventional. The “soul clap” lasted less than a few minutes and the hands fell from the air like hunted birds.
Near the end of the night we were treated to the unanimous classic “10 Crack Commandments” by The Notorious B.I.G. and I’m pretty sure I saw every single person rap the whole song word for word. Premier thanked the crowd and signed out with a “THANK YOU VANCOUVER, I LOVE YOU!”